Thursday, 8 July 2021

What's In A Quilt - 8

 I recently completed my crazy quilt project Crazy for Crazy, and now want to write its history.

I worked the eighth block in October, 3rd to 31st, 2018, so it is not surprising it is in autumnal colours.

I called it Sweet Potato and Roasted Chestnuts.

I first selected the multicoloured braid and then picked out fabric, thread and beads.

That braid has a story to tell. 
I was on holiday in Stockholm one summer. 
On a rainy day I was waiting for a friend in the old town centre. When she texted me she would be late I wanted to get out of the rain and popped into the first shop I saw. 

It turned out to be a charity shop, Stadsmissionen (this link will take you to a page where you can read about the history of this charity, it's written in Swedish, but there is a translation button).
Stadsmissionen, lovingly called Små Smulor, Small Crumbs, has several shops where they sell secondhand goods that have been donated. 

This charity take the homeless off the streets, offer them sheltered accommodation, meals, education and training, and work.
Things created in their workshops are offered for sale in the shops. For example there was once a line of accessories made from odd pieces of stained cutlery, they had patchwork cushions and fabulous waterproof bags where old bicycle tires (the inner tubes) had been stitched together with fabric. I drooled over them, but never bought one, which I have regretted ever since.

I have been a customer for many years and often buy second hand clothes, to wear, or to salvage the fabric or buttons. I have bought books, DVDs and CDs, and after reading, watching and listening once, I have often returned them to the donations box, a kind of win-win 'rent a video' system, if you like.

Small Crumbs shops are divided into categories, one shop might focus on household items, another on toys and children's wear.

Now I have been digressing for a long time. Back to the braid.
Without knowing it, the shop I dived into that rainy day was a newly opened Small Crumbs shop specialising in antiques and vintage goods. There I saw genuine jewellery, antique lace, oil paintings, fine china, first edition books etc. 

In a corner stood a basket with odds and ends, vintage postcards, quaint Christmas tree ornaments, and there it sat, this reel of colourful Rainbow Braid... 

It spook to me: 
Hey, Queenie, I have been waiting for you to come and take me away. I want to travel the world, I have always wanted to go to the UK, to India and Japan. I want to shine and be seen by many people. Help me, put me on stage.

What was I to do? Rescue her of course.

Before returning home to Japan, Rainbow Braid travelled with me to the UK, where in an Oxfam shop I was approached by a pack of Sari Silk: 
Hey Queenie, we heard you adopted Rainbow Braid. Help us, too. We want to meet her, we want to shine next to her. We also want to be on stage. Or in a quilt.

So I just had to put the Rainbow Braid and one piece of the Sari Silk in the same block. You can see how right they were, their colourings look so good together.

Rainbow Braid lounges on top of a piece of upholstery plush (from the same set of swatches my Mum was planning to use for upholstery,  I wrote about it last week), Sari Silk is flanked by metallic braid that I couched down with Perle cotton.

There is also a piece of velveteen, there is linen, polkadot cotton and the reverse side of some waterproof raincoat material. Don't say I don't mix my fabric!

A length of ric-rac is fastened with Herringbone Stitch. Other stitches are: Maiden Hair, Buttonhole and Straight Stitch, Whipped Stem Stitch. You can also see bugle beads, seed beads, golden pearls and floral sequins. 

A plain button was anchored down with twelve Buttonhole Bars, in true Sharon Boggon style.

THANK YOU to Sharon, Stadsmissionen, the people who donated the braid and the sari silk, my friend who was delayed, Auntie, Jacquie, Sylvia, Mum, Midori and all who have supported me while working on this block and those of you who have patiently been reading today's long blog post.


  1. Lovely colours and so many good memories for you.

  2. I frequently notice how materials shout out to you, and even suggest how they want to be used. The only trick is to be a good listener.

  3. A wonderful story of a beautiful block. Sometimes we are in the right place at the right time.

  4. Enjoyed reading your post. How many details for one block, you are awesome

  5. Another interesting chapter in the story!

  6. Such a pretty bock and I love how the blue stitches glow. Thank you for sharing the background about the Small Crumbs shop - what a worthy endeavor and such a lovely connection to your block. You mix fabrics so beautifully and it's great that they call out to you when they do - and like Julie said, you listen!

  7. So glad you heard the Rainbow Braid and Saree Silk calling to you - they look very happy together!

  8. I felt like I was on a magic carpet overlooking a world filled with colour,the helpful braid and silk, the amazing Stadsmissionen people and to top it off, your beautiful Hexagonal and story of how it is made.

  9. I love the way you told the story of this block!

  10. Oh my gosh! I love your beautiful and thoughtfully designed crazy quilt work.

  11. Your stories are wonderful!


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